Daily Spending Budget and Expenses for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Once your accommodation and flights are booked for the Cook Islands, the remaining budget for your holiday is determined by expenses such as food, activities, transport and miscellaneous costs like WiFi and perhaps credit card fees. In this guide on how much spending money you need for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, we give recommended daily budgets depending on what type of holiday you’re having: budget, mid-range or luxury. This is just a ballpark figure, however, so we encourage you to look at the prices listed in our Cook Islands Cost Guide so you can make your own personal budget for the Cook Islands.
Average Daily Spending Budget for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Here are a few averages for a daily budget for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. These include food, activities, transport and miscellaneous expenses. Each price is per person per day.
- Budget daily budget: NZ$130
- Mid-range daily budget: NZ$250
- Luxury daily budget: NZ$460+
We break down the budgets further in the Cook Islands spending expenses guide below!
How Much Money Do You Need for Food and Drink in the Cook Islands?
Daily budget for food and drink for the:
- Budget traveller: NZ$30
- Mid-range traveller: NZ$70
- Luxury traveller: NZ$130+
We all have our preferences when it comes to food, especially when it comes to eating when travelling. Some of us will be splurging on cocktails every night, while others will be making the most of their accommodation’s self-catering facilities.
Get a better idea of your personal food budget by using the list of typical food prices for the Cook Islands listed in The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices.
The above food budget takes into account the following criteria:
Budget traveller: Mostly self-caters but also includes a mix of the occasional cheap eats from cafes, takeaways and markets.
Mid-range traveller: Breakfast might be included in the resort, so it takes into consideration a mix of cheap and normal restaurant meals each day for lunch and dinner, as well as two restaurant drinks a day.
Luxury traveller: Eat out at mid-range to upscale restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner including three drinks a day.
How Much Money Do You Need for Activities in the Cook Islands?
Daily budget for activities for the:
- Budget traveller: NZ$50
- Mid-range traveller: NZ$90
- Luxury traveller: NZ$200+
Again, you will find a great difference in the budget from traveller to traveller when it comes to activities. However, thanks to many of Rarotonga and the Cook Islands’ highlights being free to enjoy, such as snorkelling and seeing natural and historical attractions, even the mid-range traveller will find that they have a reasonable activities budget if they mix in some paid and non-paid activities into their itinerary. Of course, there’s always an excuse to splurge on big activities, such as fishing and scuba diving several times during your holiday!
See a complete list of activity prices in How Much Does a Trip to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Cost?
The above activities budget takes into account the following criteria of activities done over five days, as an example:
How Much Do You Need for Transport in the Cook Islands?
Daily budget for transport for the:
- Budget traveller – NZ$40
- Mid-range traveller – NZ$70
- Luxury traveller – NZ$100
Assuming you have already paid for any domestic flights to the outer islands before you arrive in the Cook Islands, your travel budget for transport depends on what transport you use. Frugal travellers will find that they probably spend no more than NZ$30 for travel on the bus around Rarotonga for their whole trip, while those renting a vehicle could be paying NZ$40-$80 a day, not including an airport transfer.
Again, refer to the prices listed in How Much Does a Trip to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Cost? for a rough idea of transport costs. Otherwise, we have full budget breakdowns in the following guides:
- The Bus in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Bus Fares, Timetable & More
- The Cost of Renting a Car in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Full Car Rental Cost Breakdown
- Scooter Hire on Rarotonga: Where to Rent, Cost & More
- Scooter Hire on Aitutaki: Where to Rent, Cost & More
- Taxis in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Taxi Fares, How to Use & More
- The Cheapest Airport Transfers in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- Water Taxis in Aitutaki & the Cook Islands: How to Use, Cost & More
Any other transport methods can be found in Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands.
The above transport budget takes into account the following criteria of transport used/hired over five days, as an example:
Luxury traveller: Hires a premium vehicle for five days with airport delivery and drop-off.
Daily budget for miscellaneous expenses for the:
- Budget traveller – NZ$10
- Mid-range traveller – NZ$20
- Luxury traveller – NZ$50+
Finally, it’s always worth having a little bit extra in your daily spending budget for the Cook Islands in case you have costs for WiFi, a travellers phone SIM or tipping. While tipping is not mandatory in the Cook Islands, those staying in luxury accommodations might be inclined to tip – see The Cook Islands Tipping & Tax Guide for Travellers. There are also likely to be odd expenses such as ATM withdrawal fees to also take into consideration.
Again, check out some of these miscellaneous costs in How Much Does a Trip to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Cost?
More About How Much Spending Money You Need for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
That’s it for the guide to how much spending money to take to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands but by no means the end of our Cook Islands budget advice! Check out the following guides for more tips:
- Is Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Expensive?
- 20 Tips to Save Money in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- What is the Best Way to Pay in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
Finally, learn more about travelling the Cook Islands on a budget in The Complete Backpacking Guide to the Cook Islands on a Budget.